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Compass Financial Advisors

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US Stocks Ended March 2, 2018

 Stocks dropped for the week after President Trump announced new steel and aluminum tariffs, instilling fears of a potential trade war, and Fed Chairman Mr. Powell reiterated to congress a gradual increase in short-term interest rates. Investors worry rising inflation from new tariffs and higher growth from the recent tax cuts could cause the Federal Reserve to move faster on raising short-term interest rates. In economic news, the labor market displayed further signs of tightening with initial jobless claims falling to 210,000, the lowest level since 1969. The industrials and materials sectors were the worst performing sectors as protectionist measures could cause rising input costs. In stock specific news, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. released its investor letter to shareholders. In the letter, Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett stated he does not see any companies worth buying at current valuations, but rather he favors returning capital through share buybacks. Shares of Gap, Inc. jumped after announcing better than expected comparable-store-sales with all three of its flagship brands reporting flat to positive growth for the first time since fiscal first quarter 2013. In contrast, Lowe's Cos Inc. announced disappointing results as weak gross margins drove a material earnings miss. Looking ahead to next week, Friday's unemployment report for February will be the key economic data point. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 4% from 4.1% and wage growth is expected to come in at 2.8% year-over-year. Last month's strong uptick in wages sparked an increase in volatility and the market correction. Longer term, we continue to view the underlying fundamentals of the economy as the key driver of the stock market. If corporate profits remain strong, like the last two quarters, equities have room to run.

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Latest Market News

 Stocks fell for the week as investors grappled with higher bond yields, political risks around the globe, trade tensions and higher energy prices. The real estate and utilities sectors, which tend to be bond proxies due to their high dividend yields, lost over 2% for the week. By contrast, the materials and energy sectors posted the biggest gains as investors are starting to price in higher inflation expectations. In economic news, retail sales rose 0.3% in April, in-line with forecasts, as higher paychecks from tax-cuts offset rising fuel costs. In stock news, both Walmart Inc.

 Treasury prices dropped moderately over the course of the week on strong economic data and speculation that both the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank may raise interest rates more quickly than previously expected. On Tuesday, April Advance Retail Sales were solid while March sales figures were revised to 0.8%, and May Empire Manufacturing was higher than expected, causing a risk-on environment which led to a significant drop in Treasury prices. It was also reported on Tuesday that the U.S.

 View from the Observation Deck  

Securities offered through Harbour Investments, Inc.,
member FINRA/SIPC. http://www.finra.org/
http://www.sipc.org/about-sipc

Investment Advisory Services offered through
Compass Financial Advisors, LLC,
a registered Advisor. 
Compass Financial Advisors, LLC &
Harbour Investments, Inc.
are separate entities.

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